57: Concerning Divine Wisdom—the Kingdom of Heaven or Heavenly Government Within, Not Known Without—Above the Skies

Abington, the 18th of the Third Month [May], 1738:

A close concern came in my mind early, very early this morning, for the sake of mankind, and the good welfare and preservation of posterity, which a right and perfect way of instructing and educating youth would tend much to the furtherance of. And I know not any better way than that which would be the most likely and certain way to bring them to the knowledge of Divine Wisdom: the Word of the Spirit in their own hearts, which pride and idleness very much obstructs. For as an excellent author well observed: Divine Wisdom begets humility, but that which is acquired by the learned begets pride.

I say: the humble God teacheth, but rejecteth the proud.

So then, Divine Wisdom exceeds all literature and human wisdom, so far as Light excels darkness, heaven exceeds the earth, and the Almighty Lord God in heaven exceeds Satan in hell. For Divine Learning and Heavenly Wisdom brings us to the knowledge of our maker, and to have sweet communion with him, as the saints had, who could say their fellowship was with the Father and with the Son. This, this Wisdom—my fellow creatures of all names—to this Learning, I do dearly, heartily, and tenderly invite you: to this brotherhood, this fellowship, this unity, union, and communion.

This, this is worth the denying ourselves and forsaking all things in this world for, [even] if there were no fear of torment or hope of joy and bliss when these bodies have changed their form.

I say: to have this most sweet, near, inward, intimate and perfect fellowship, acquaintance, and conversation day and night, at all times with God and with his dear children born again—this is heaven itself. The kingdom of God is known to be within [us], not known without, above the skies. In his dear children, new-molded, new-made, new-fashioned, and yet old-fashioned, according to Hebrews 12:22–23Colossians 2:10, 4:12; 1 John 2:5John 6:56, 8.3. They were in it, and it was in them, and so it is now with some.

[They are] new formed in the heavenly image, having the Divine Essence, no sin—no deformity, as all sin is—but glorious and beautiful, in the likeness, nature and substance of their Father. And [they] are perfect and complete in the whole will of God, and are complete in their Beloved, not out[side] of him. For without him [God], mankind—with all his humane, earthly, and worldly wisdom, however excellent were it ten thousand times more—all such still remain in Babylon, which is in confusion and in the smoke of the bottomless pit, which darken their understandings. And those are in torment, and that is hell. Colossians 2:7–8. Now, those that like to dwell there, and will not come out, I can but pity them.